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city (1995 est. pop. 519,500), capital of Sierra Leone, W Sierra Leone, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. Located on the Sierra Leone peninsula, Freetown is the nation's administrative, communications, and economic center, as well as its main port. The city's economy revolves largely around its fine natural harbor, which is capable of receiving oceangoing vessels and which handles Sierra Leone's main exports. Industries include food and beverage processing, fish packing, rice milling, petroleum refining, diamond cutting, and the manufacture of cigarettes, paint, shoes, and beer. Lebanese play a major role in local trade, especially wholesaling. Roads and a railroad link Freetown with the interior of the country and the city is served by an international airport in nearby Lungi. Guma Dam provides water and hydroelectric power for Freetown. The area was settled in 1787 by freed slaves sent from England by British abolitionists, including Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson, who started the Sierra Leone Company. In 1792, Freetown was founded by former slaves from Nova Scotia sent out by the company. Freetown was used by the British as the base for creating (1808) the Sierra Leone Crown Colony, and from 1808 to 1874 it served as the capital of British West Africa. In 1893 it was made the first British colonial municipality in Africa, with the right to elect a mayor. During World War II, Britain maintained a naval base at Freetown. Although they constitute only a minority today, descendants of the freed slaves, called Creoles, play a leading role in the city. Freetown is the site of the Univ. of Sierra Leone (1967), which incorporates Fourah Bay College (1827) and Njala Univ. College (1963), and also of a technical institute.



the capital of Sierra Leone and the country’s political, financial, trade, industrial, and cultural center. Located on the Atlantic coast, Freetown has an equatorial monsoon climate with dry and rainy seasons; temperatures average 24°C in August and 27°C in April, and annual precipitation exceeds, 3.630 mm. According to the 1974 census, the population is 274,000.

Freetown was founded by the British in the late 18th century. From 1808 until April 1961 it was the capital of the English colony of Sierra Leone. It was an important center of the national liberation struggle, and in April 1961 it became the capital of the independent Sierra Leone.

Freetown is Sierra Leone’s principal seaport, and it is linked by roads with the country’s other main cities. An international airport has been built nearby. Freetown has a food-processing industry and some light industry. Its products include building materials and wood and leather goods. The University of Sierra Leone, which comprises two colleges and has a noteworthy library, is located in the city. A technical institute and the National Museum are also located in Freetown.


the capital and chief port of Sierra Leone: founded in 1787 for slaves freed and destitute in England. Pop.: 1 007 000 (2005 est.)
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